Reporter tries one of world's hottest chillies from Worthing food festival

Worthing hosted a brand new food festival last week, including a chilli-eating challenge - and our reporter tried the main event.

Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 5:02 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:19 pm
Reporter James Butler taking on one of the world's hottest chillies

Last weekend, the inaugural Fire and Ice Festival in the town centre drew crowds determined to win £100 and a trophy by eating a string of increasingly potent peppers, ending with the infamous scorpion chilli.

On Saturday, three brave competitors conquered the chilli, with another two triumphant on Sunday.

As there were some leftover fiery fruits, town centre manager Sharon Clarke offered them to the paper for a reporter to try, and the only reporter daring (or foolish) enough to give it a go was James Butler.

Reporter James Butler taking on one of the world's hottest chillies

He tried three chillies in the challenge: a jalapeño, which is 5,000 Scoville units, a Scotch bonnet, which can go up to 400,000 Scoville units, and finally the scorpion. At one stage, a strain of this chilli was recognised as the hottest in the world, before the Carolina reaper stole its crown. The scorpion can reach 1.4 million Scoville units, and is so called because the fruit looks like the end of a scorpion's stinger.

And while it is not poisonous, it certainly had some nasty side-effects, as James unwittingly discovered.

Watch the video above to see what happened.

James said: "I had seen a few videos on YouTube of people trying the chilli, including one woman who had to be given an oxygen mask, so I was pretty nervous about trying it out. I skipped past the jalapeño and went straight onto the Scotch bonnet, which was pretty intense, so before I wimped out I took a bite of the Scorpion.

Reporter James Butler taking on one of the world's hottest chillies

The chilli tasted sweet, but with an aftertaste similar to what petrol smells like - which was fitting, as what came next was like my mouth had been drenched in oil and set alight.

"I drank about a litre of milk, which made the heat go away temporarily, but when it came back it was like the inside of my mouth had sunstroke. I was sweating and tearing up, and at one point I was almost sick.

"The heat died down after about 20 minutes, but I could feel the pepper in my stomach - it was like I had really bad heartburn.

"I have respect for those guys who completed the challenge - half of the scorpion was too much for me."